Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/496

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486


NOTES AND QUERIES. [us. XL JUNE 26, 1915.


in so far as Widsith himself is concerned, are quite meaningless, and when we have discarded the two longer interpolations we find the lines of the original running as follows : 80 Mid Lidwicingum ic wees ond raid Leonum |

ond mid Longbeardum. Mid Hpegnum* [ic wses] ond mid Haelejwm |

ond mid Hundingum. Mid Mornumf ie wees ond mid Persum | ond

mid Myrgingum.

Mid OftingumJ icwses ond ongean Myrgin- gum | ond mid Amothirigum. Mid East-}>yringum ic waes ond mid Eolum |

ond mid iscum.||

Ond ic waes mid Eormeririce | ealle j>rage J>set^f me Gotena cyning | gode dohte.

These passages are now perfectly clear, consistent and grammatical.

II.

The two dislocations occur at 1. 45 and 1. 50. They are both attributable to A, and the first comprises five lines. It appears directly after the completion of the He- weold section of the poem. In that section every ruler's name but Wala's is accompanied by the name of the sib, tribe, or folk he ruled over. But when we come to 1. 45 we find Hrothwulf and Hrothgar, the joint kings of the South Danes,** mentioned without the name of their people being given. A little further on, however, in the second line of the Ic-waes-mid section, Widsith informs us that he had visited the South Danes. The inference is obvious : the lines about the rulers of the South Danes have been torn from, their context and mis- placed. For these reasons I restore the lines about the kings Hrothwulf and Hrothgar to the Ic-waes-mid section, im-

  • MS. hcBJSnum, with ftr.g. Cp. Wffireceaster,

Saxon Chronicle, Laud MS., annal 1087 (p. 227) ; and Ledecestre, of Domesday Book, for Legecestre.

t M S. moidum (with i :: r and d :: n) for mornum ; cp. ante, p. 144, foot-note f.

% MS. mo/dingum, which is quite unknown and does not alliterate with Amothingum (cp. Amother- ley). Oftfor, Of there, Oftmser, are well-known names.

MS. ongmd ; cp. ante,, p. 144, foot-note f.

I; MS. istum. Iscum (J) is late West SaxonJ'or iexc-um < *Easci-. The Easci were the sib of Ease or Ausch-is, son of Hengist I., and a contemporary of Offa of Ongle. Hengist II. also- had a son ^Esc.

  • [ MS. ]>rcr [with r :: t]. The scribe of the Exeter

Book could even write er for Latin et ; cp. US. viii. 403, and also 262.

    • Cp. 'Beowulf,' 1. 463, ed. Sedgefield, 1910, p. 54 :

l>anon he gesohte | SuS-Dena folc, ofer y5a ge\vealc, | Ar-Scyldinga. Hrothgar was "frea Scyldinga."


mediately after the line naming the South Danes over whom they ruled.

The second displacement, viz., the swd- strophe of seven lines, from 1. 50 to 1. 56, is notorious for having no relevance either to what goes before, or to what comes after, and I return it to what I conceive to be its true and original position between the two- other swa -strophes at the end of the poem.

The rejection of the interpolations, to- gether with the returning to their proper places of the two strophes particularized, restores the coherence and harmony of the poem. Aparb from, a few scribal errors it need now present no difficulty whatever to students who will abandon the suspicion of untruthfulness with which Widsith has quite undeservedly been treated.

Those investigators who are determined to cherish that unworthy suspicion will fail to make progress, and they will continue* to remind us of those French statesmen of the reign of King Lewis XII., of whom M. Lavisse reports :

"Dans tous les evenements, quoiqu'on fit, il j avait un vice originel : ils etaient en dehors de la vraie direction des interets frangais." "Nos diplo- mats," he goes on to say, " ou nos hommes d'6tat ressemblaient & des gens engage's dans un labyrinthe ou ils essaient a tatons tous les chemins des qu'au depart ils ont manque le bon." V. ' Histoire de France,' by M. Ernest Lavisse, 1911, vol. v. part i. p. 63.

What this brilliant author 'says of French statesmen of 1500 may be said also of the German school of critics of ' Widsith ' : they are groping in the dark in a labyrinth of their own contriving, in which they have lost direction and are trying all roads but the right one. In all they do they are hampered by le vice origiml of their distrust of Widsith, and their egotistical miscorrec- tions of his statements.

ALFRED ANSCOMBE.


FOLK-LORE OF CYPBUS.

THE present war has brought about some strange developments of the Colonial Empire of Great Britain. By the annexation of Cyprus on 5 November last, we have added to the collection of varied races composing that Empire some 275,000 new subjects, of a race hitherto but little represented within it fold.

The Greco -Turk Levantine has many curious characteristics, often described in the old books of travellers. The following few notes on the customs of the modern